Archive for 'Small business'

Rising Exports Fuels Economic Recovery

The United States exported $174.9 billion in goods and services in May 2011, according to data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Exports of goods and services over the last twelve months totaled $1.958 trillion, putting U.S. exports 24.3% above the level of total exports in 2009. Over the last twelve months, exports have been growing at an annualized rate of 16.6% when compared to 2009, a pace greater than the 15% required to double exports by the end of 2014, which is the goal of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI).

Over the last twelve months, among the major export markets (i.e., markets with at least $6 billion in annual imports of U.S. goods), the countries with the largest annualized increase in U.S. purchase of goods when compared to 2009, occurred in Turkey (53.6 percent), South Africa (37.8 percent), Panama (35.1 percent), Peru (34.9 percent), Argentina (33.5 percent), Brazil (32.3 percent), Taiwan (32.2 percent), Thailand (29.8 percent), Hong Kong (29.7), and Egypt (29.0 percent).

“Increasing U.S. exports is a critical part of our economic recovery,” said Ex-Im Chairman & President Fred P. Hochberg.  “We are on track to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.  Ex-Im Bank will continue to provide American companies, both large and small, with the competitive edge they need to expand their foreign sales.”

Also contributing to U.S. export growth, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) completed $20.3 billion in total authorizations for the first eight months of fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 2010 through May 2011), supporting $26 billion in U.S. exports and more than 175,000 American jobs.  This eight-month authorization figure is the highest in the Bank’s history. In fiscal year 2010, Ex-Im Bank approved $16.3 billion in this same time period, supporting $19.9 billion in U.S. export sales and supporting 137,000 American jobs.

For small businesses, the Bank’s transactions are up almost 7% from last year, and working capital guarantees to small businesses total $926.6 million, a 38.5% increase from last year. Other highlights from the first eight months include $1.3 billion in authorizations for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ex-Im Bank, an independent, self-sustaining federal agency, helps create and maintain American jobs by filling gaps in export financing and strengthening U.S. export competitiveness. The Bank has generated $3.4 billion for U.S. taxpayers over the past 5 years.
http://www.exim.gov

Small Business Exports Hit Record Highs

During the First 6 Months of 2011 Goods Valued at a Record $2.85 Billion Were Exported on the Merchandise Passport by Chicago-area Small Business, Corporation for International Business. Since Companies Use the Merchandise Passport to Save Money Promoting Sales Overseas, Increased Use of the Merchandise Passport (aka ATA Carnet) Predicts a Future Increase in Exports.

Quote startThis is exactly what President Obama’s National Export Initiative hopes to accomplish for the U.S. economy and its recoveryQuote end

A record $2.85 Billion of manufactured goods were exported in the first 6 months of 2011 using The Merchandise Passport. Issued by Chicago-area small business, Corporation for International Business, the 3,502 Merchandise Passports – ATA Carnet export documents – were a record for commercial value in any six-month period during the past 25 years. By comparison, values for the prior 6 month period were only $935 Million. Merchandise Passports issued with this increase in exported commercial values portend significant growth in U.S. exports since they are used, before a sale, to promote products overseas.

CIB President, Curt Wilson, commented, “We have 25 years of issuing Merchandise Passports as an appointee of the U.S. Council for International Business. Record numbers like these indicate U.S. companies are increasing their use of ATA Carnets to promote their goods overseas and are planning to sell their U.S. manufactured products to foreign buyers. This is exactly what President Obama’s National Export Initiative hopes to accomplish for the U.S. economy and its recovery.”

ATA Carnets are useful before a sale because a carnet eliminates the need to pay millions of dollars in duty and tax with foreign customs to attend trade shows, display commercial samples or demonstrate unique features of high tech equipment. Much of the increase in exported value is the result of pre-sales activity by major Chicago-area manufacturers especially aircraft manufacturers. However, the products included in these record values, and shipped from all major U.S. ports, range from a few thousand dollars of photography equipment for a European fashion shoot to hundred million dollar prototype aircraft for an air show.

The Merchandise Passport, is one arrow in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s quiver of export promotion tools. In 2009 an agreement was signed between the U.S. national carnet guaranteeing association to promote carnets to the department’s Export Assistance Centers and ultimately to U.S. exporters. The ATA Carnet document allows exporters to clear U.S. and foreign customs without paying import duties and taxes and to do so at a pre-determined cost. Thus, the cost of promoting and selling overseas is reduced and clearing customs is easier.

The Merchandise Passport, ATA Carnet, was developed by the World Customs Organization in a joint effort with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). ICC and national customs authorities manage the day-to-day operations of the global ATA Carnet system (“ATA” is a combination of the French and English abbreviations for “temporary admission”).

CIB, using its “Boomerang Freight Solutions” service mark, is a Service Provider for the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the U.S. Affiliate of the Paris-based, International Chamber of Commerce. CIB/Boomerang Freight Solutions has held this appointment for 25 years.

Ideas About Getting Used Office Furniture

Nearly everyone would like to save a bit of money whenever they can. One of the easiest ways to reduce expenses is to purchase second hand furnishings. Used office furniture is a good place to start looking.

There are three basic strategies for obtaining second hand furnishings from businesses. The most reliable solution is to find a clearing house which specializes in this sort of thing. A second method would be to dig through the garbage and refuse areas of professional buildings in case they have thrown something useful out. Thirdly, and least likely to be successful, is the tactic of asking businesses directly if they have unwanted fittings that they are going to throw out.

The obvious first application of desks and cabinets obtained from a business is to furnish one’s own professional space with them. Usually in good repair, these items tend to be discarded because they are being replaced.

Sturdy, simple, and generally quite utilitarian, they are good additions to most student residences. Most second hand things are inexpensive, and sometimes even free. As far as students are concerned, cheaper is usually much better.

There is more available than desks and chairs. Once in a while it might be possible to get something a bit more unusual, like a conference table or a water cooler. Discarded paintings may also be available. Sometimes there may be floor mats, end tables, or lamps to find.

Some institutions operate dedicated clearing houses for their second hand fittings. Universities are often good places to start looking. These items are usually not free, but the prices can be very low.

A lot of people are concerned with their impact on the world, and as such they seek out ways to recycle and reuse as much as they can. Repurposing used office furniture may be something that they find important. Many people may also find the idea of saving money when they buy some of the more expensive household objects to be quite attractive.

Running a small business can be very expensive, especially so in a tough economy like this one. Between high rent rates, soaring HR costs, and constant maintenance for computers and IT systems it can be near impossible. That’s why you might consider buying used office furniture and cubicles from Cubeclerk. Not only will they save you money, they can assist you with design, installation and shipping at any location.

Konrad Kafarski and Special K Enterprises save prominent business in Southern California by offering business consulting services and increasing revenue by 300 percent.

For some companies, sales are growing and business is getter better despite the cold economy, but this wasn’t always the case. Business and sales consultant Konrad Kafarski is putting his experience to work for clients that have been struggling to make sales, facing bankruptcy, hitting a sales limit or simply needing to increase their efficiency.

With 20 years of industry experience, Konrad Kafarski has experienced all market conditions and knows what it takes to get businesses growing again. Kafarski’s independent consulting firm, Special K Enterprises, provides short-term and ongoing consulting services to all industries.

The Special K Enterprises Corporation develops new sales and management strategies that locate inefficiencies and increase productivity and business revenue. Special K Enterprises restructures sales operations and handles hiring and training procedures to develop a team that can sell products better. Under Konrad Kafarski’s oversight, the Special K Enterprises team rewrites sale scripts and teaches management and sales professionals how to prequalify prospects and spend marketing dollars more effectively.

Coming up from the back of the pack to become the market leader isn’t impossible. Konrad Kafarski has helped various prominent Southern California businesses avoid bankruptcy and experience an exponential increase in sales.

One client, who wishes to remain anonymous, tripled their annual income after completing a nine-month contract with the Special K Enterprises firm. This Orange County, California, business in the home improvement market was making $5 million annually before they contacted Special K Enterprises. After the short-term, nine-month contract, their annual revenue grew by 300 percent to $15.5 million.

Konrad Kafarski helped this business turn their profits in the right direction along with many others by offering short-term contracts to develop new marketing plans and assisting with management procedures. Konrad Kafarski now offers business consulting services to this company to ensure they are on the right path to maintain their position by making intelligent marking decisions.

Unlike other companies that only work with big players, Konrad Kafarski and Special K Enterprises work with small and mid-sized businesses that haven’t found the right business strategy yet. Konrad Kafarski brings insight gained over 20 years in the marketing industry and 5 years as an independent consultant. Konrad Kafarski and Special K Enterprises have a track record of success when it comes to turning struggling businesses around with new sales strategies and marketing campaigns that are worth the money. Visit Konrad Kafarski at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/KonradKafarski to learn more about Special K Enterprises and their business consulting services.

Contact:

Konrad Kafarski
Special K Enterprises, Inc.
konradkafarski(at)mail(dot)com
23600 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(888) 683-5580

Have you ever thought that there should be a “Yelp” for businesses shopping for services? Well, it’s finally here and it’s called Comparz (http://www.comparz.com).

Quote startWe also found that most businesses are shopping for a technology or service provider several times per year and that users find the current options (reading blogs and searching Google) to be too time consuming and not helpful.Quote end

Finally, the more than 27 million small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. now have an easier way to shop for services they need to run their businesses. Comparz.com, which launched today, combines in-depth user reviews and rankings of services for small and mid-sized businesses with free decision tools provided by experts.

“Our research has shown that what businesses want are user reviews, rankings and decision guides for shopping for a particular type of service,” says Comparz Founder & CEO Rachel Blankstein. “We also found that most businesses are shopping for a technology or service provider several times per year and that users find the current options (reading blogs and searching Google) to be too time consuming and not helpful.”

Most business solutions these days have been put online and many you only need to commit to on a monthly basis. However, most shoppers lack sophistication in understanding what they are buying and want guidance, particularly from their peers or from a trusted third-party (and not from the vendor).

Comparz has launched with actionable and easy-to-understand Decision Guides and user reviews and rankings for online solutions in several key areas – customer and lead management, e-mail marketing, Web conferencing and online data backup. More categories and types of business services will be added quickly and all content will always be available at no cost to all site visitors.

The success of tools that target small and mid-sized businesses, such as Hubspot, Constant Contact, Carbonite and Salesforce, are another indication of the growing market for tools for the small business.

More information is available by visiting http://www.comparz.com, or via e-mail to press(at)comparz(dot)com, or by calling 312-217-9650.

 

Audio is really a often neglected business tool. There are a number of techniques that audio could be used to the advantage of your small business. Here are the three most typical:

When building an advertising and marketing system, awareness would be the first (and biggest) challenge to get over. Naturally, potential prospects need to know about you before they come to you. By using a jingle is a great option to help achieve awareness. A jingle is simply a short, catchy song that gives information regarding your enterprise or product. However, the uses doesn’t necessarily stop there. A jingle, in whole or in part, could be integrated into radio, television, and online advertising (YouTube videos, your company website, etc.), so it will be quite an extremely versatile tool. Some jingles can stand alone as a commercial, while others are great openers or closers. Jingles are not too expensive to produce and can serve your small business for years to come.

Converting potential customers into paying customers is the next hurdle. You’ve created a jingle that creates awareness for your company, and now phone calls are pouring in. On-Hold Messaging is the next tool, which helps keep customers on the telephone line and provide valuable information while they wait for to speak to someone. The music and messages that callers hear helps to reduce caller anxiety, reduce the number of hang-ups, and create further awareness of your products and services. All of these results help to foster more sales for your business. These can be coupled with your jingle to help reinforce your brand and image in the mind of your callers. These are also easy and inexpensive to start and maintain, and most telecom services have the ability to incorporate music/messages on hold.

Okay, now you have captured a possible customer’s particular attention using your jingle, and you have kept them thinking about your company when they named as using your on-hold message. Now they’ve arrived at your company or store location. The following barrier would be to convert browsers to buyers. Point-of-Purchase Audio Advertising is a superb tool for this job. These brief messages, often spaced within background music, can inform shoppers of the latest offerings, sales and specials, or other helpful information. Although many consist of background music, many feature merely a voice-over or announcer, so these are quick, easy, and affordable to create. Yet again, feel free to use your jingles here as well, contributing even more value to your initial investment.

These are merely a few good examples. Think creatively regarding how to incorporate audio to spread your message about your small business, products, or services. Professional audio production companies exist in every state and will be more than able to help carry your small business to another level.

Want to find out more about using audio to market your small business, then visit Craig Clayton’s site on how to create the best jingles and on hold messages for your needs.

 

With high unemployment rates, and colleges not offering enough in entrepreneurial training, Lendio offers small business tips and funding opportunities for new graduates

Recently, the Bureau of Labor reported that half the states are showing unemployment rates among the younger crowd at more than 25 percent. For those interested in starting a business as an alternative, Lendio is offering new grads opportunities to find the right small business loans and other funding options.

“In a down economy, new grads are competing fiercely for jobs against highly-qualified, experienced people,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO. “But for many, starting a business seems like an even more daunting task than competing for a job.”

Why?

“Schools don’t adequately teach their students how to start a business, they teach them how to get a job,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO. “It can be unthinkable for many young entrepreneurs to leave school and start a business right away, because most the time, they have no idea how to go about it.”

A study from Cogswell College and Zogby/463 confirms Blake’s points, revealing that colleges are not focused enough on teaching entrepreneurial skills:

  • 67% of Americans say schools are not focused enough on providing entrepreneurial skills.
  • Only 5% of Americans say college is where students currently learn to become entrepreneurs.
  • 73% of Americans say the best way to teach a student to become an entrepreneur is by them creating a business or interning in a start-up.
  • 76% of Americans say students launching a business while in college will make them better entrepreneurs.
  • 95% of Americans say entrepreneurism is important to U.S. Competitiveness.
  • 79% of Americans say having entrepreneurial skills is important for graduates to land a job.

(Source: Zogby/463 May 2011 poll of over 2,000 Americans.)

New graduates especially don’t understand how to find capital for their new startup, Brock says.

“Capital is the lifeblood of any business. From our experience, many new college grads don’t understand what it takes to raise funding or apply to get small business loans,” Blake said. “They don’t realize there are hundreds of loan types and thousands of banks, each with different qualifications, terms, rates and more. Some don’t even know that they can qualify for a business loan, and so they don’t even try.”

Lendio is offering two opportunities for young business owners to get capital and learn how to fund their startup:

1. They can attend CrowdPitch in Kaysville, Utah on June 8, hosted by Lendio and sponsored by the NorthFront Entrepreneur Alliance. This is a two-hour, free event where companies present their ideas to an audience of their peers and a panel of investors and experts. Businesses can still apply to pitch for a limited time.

2. They can sign up for a free Lendio account. This will help them understand which business loan types and lenders they may to qualify for.

About Lendio
Lendio makes small business loans simple by matching qualified small business owners with active banks, credit unions, and other lending sources. Through a proprietary matching technology, Lendio helps business owners identify the type of business loan and specific lenders that offer the highest probability for that business owner to prepare for and secure a business loan approval. For more information, contact Lendio at press(at)lendio(dot)com.

Credit Bureau Changes Guidelines for Business

Risk Scores Leverage Data on 25M+ Small Businesses, Provide Greater Predictive Power

Recognizing the emerging needs of today’s lenders and trade creditors, Equifax (NYSE: EFX) has developed a new class of business scoring solutions that provide a more complete view of how a company meets its credit obligations during changing economic conditions. This new suite of market-leading risk scores leverages unique data assets from the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE), a member owned, not-for-profit corporation which counts among its members virtually all of the nation’s leading small business lenders. With this insight, banks and other businesses can better respond to market dynamics, minimize fraud and make credit risk decisions with greater confidence.

These new scores are the result of extensive collaboration and research conducted during co-innovation sessions with small business lending experts, many of whom are SBFE members.  With a track record for continuously monitoring small business credit trends, Equifax is uniquely positioned to understand the impact of economic changes on commercial lenders and trade creditors. Working closely with customers to understand their needs, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions developed business risk scores designed with several key differentiators:

  • Automated scoring systems that are built on pre-recession, recession and post-recession data.
  • Models that incorporate twice as many data attributes as other industry scores, including large and small business, public and private organization and time series variables.
  • A new, minimum scoring criterion to validate the legitimacy of a business and verify application data for potential fraud.
  • Scorecards that can be applied automatically based on business size, eliminating the need for multiple systems and scores.

 

With these enhancements, banks and other companies can realize significant time and costs savings while benefiting from the increased predictability of the scores. The new Equifax business scores are designed to automate credit risk decisions – reducing the need for manual review of individual credit reports and business applications. By using scores that are validated on the latest economic data, lenders and trade creditors can make more informed predictions about the bottom 20 percent of portfolio accounts that will likely go into late-stage delinquency. This ability to quickly identify risky accounts enables businesses to achieve greater lift from a portfolio – which can result in the acquisition of more profitable customers at a lower delinquency rate.

Available now are the Business Delinquency Score™, which predicts the likelihood of severe delinquency on an account and the Business Delinquency Financial Score™, which determines the likelihood of severe delinquency on financial accounts. Both of these new scores are powerful risk assessment tools designed with an option to include both business principal and business credit information. Customers can now also take advantage of Equifax’s next-generation Business Failure Score™, which incorporates many of the same data elements as the delinquency scores – enhancing its ability to predict the likelihood of business failure within the next 12 months. As Equifax introduces its scoring innovations to the market throughout the year, customers will have the option of tapping into additional features such as risk class and business modeling attributes.

“Many customers tell us that access to information solutions that can translate data into improved performance is critical to managing risk and enhancing account profitability. Our new business risk scores underscore Equifax’s continued commitment to equip banks and other businesses with tools that provide capabilities far beyond traditional industry reports and services,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh, senior vice president, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions. “Leveraging new scoring criteria and world-class data assets, our new scoring solutions provide greater predictive power for making better, quicker credit decisions – regardless of economic developments.”

About Equifax (www.equifax.com)

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Equifax Commercial Information Solutions is the leading provider of small business intelligence. We provide the information and expertise necessary for companies to best understand and manage their dealings with small business customers, prospects and suppliers. Our best-in-class commercial credit risk data, combined with highly predictive scoring, corporate linkage, and innovative technology, enables companies to make quick, confident credit decisions and minimize potential losses. Leveraging our EFX ID® keying and linkage technology, companies can also gain greater visibility into their supply chain as well as improve the precision of their sales and marketing efforts – from customer acquisition to retention and expansion.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 15 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.

Small Business Financial Exchange (www.sbfe.org)

The Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) is the country’s leading source of small business credit information. Established in 2001, this non-profit association’s database houses information on about 24 million businesses, and enables information exchange among approximately 400 members who provide small business financing.

Through its resources and relationships, SBFE makes possible innovative risk management solutions by providing industry insight and analysis of aggregated small business financial data to its members. SBFE sets the highest standards for data quality, integrity of use, and information security for its database to protect its members and their customers’ information.

http://www.equifax.com

Business Loans for Poor Credit Borrowers

Lendio and Capital Stack announce a Bank Flow Cash Program, which helps businesses that don’t qualify for business loans, secure capital to help their businesses grow.

Lendio and Capital Stack today announced a new Bank Flow Cash program, which enables business owners to receive business loans without any credit.

“Many new business owners have either poor credit or no credit history at all,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO. “When those people approach banks for small business loans, they are denied the vast majority of the time. Without those funds, many small businesses can’t continue to operate.”

This program is designed specifically to help those types of businesses across the nation. Some industries that often get turned down by bank and cash advance programs include collection agencies, attorneys, accountants, gas stations, travel agencies, construction. This program will in turn, help create more jobs and strengthen a struggling economy.

“After jointly evaluating the marketplace, we found a large void that didn’t have this type of credit in the system,” said David Rubin, Capital Stack CEO.

There is a large volume of potential businesses that could benefit from this program. Together, Lendio and Capital Stack developed a solution and brought it to the market.

“The key was using the new platform developed by Lendio, to instantaneously scrub market wide the available options for a small business,” Rubin said.

This program allows clients the following benefits:

*Underwritten in 24 hours
*Funding in a few as 5 days
*90% more approvals over traditional bank programs
*$20,000 in average approvals
*Advances up to $500k
*Startups in business 1-3 months can be approved
*Profitability not examined
*Business credit not examined
*500 personal credit is OK
*No interest or late fees
*Repayment automatically from the bank account
*No application fee

For more information about this program, visit the original article about the Bank Flow Cash Program.

About Capital Stack
Capital Stack, LLC delivers business cash advances, unsecured programs, and cash-flow-style bank loans. The company designs flexible programs to advance against future credit card receivable or structure and advance on the bank cash flow of the business. Its financing allows most business to expand their customer base and turn future receivables into immediate cash. Specialties include business cash advance, ACH bank program, electronic payment space, accounts receivable financing, PO factoring, inventory finance, and real estate finance.

About Lendio
Lendio makes small business loans simple by matching qualified small business owners with active banks, credit unions, and other lending sources. Through a proprietary matching technology, Lendio assists a business owner to identify the business loan type and specific lenders that offer the highest probability for that business owner to prepare for and secure a business loan approval.

 

Business Credit Card Abuse Continues

Business Credit Card Abuse Continues

Business Credit Card Abuse Continues-Image via Wikipedia

Pew Highlights Need to Extend Credit CARD Act Protections

The Credit CARD Act of 2009, signed into law two years ago, made consumer credit cards safer and more transparent. But, its rules did not apply to cards labeled for business or commercial use, placing millions of individuals and small business owners at risk. Practices the Federal Reserve deemed “unfair” or “deceptive,” such as hair trigger interest rates and unpredictable rate increases, remain widespread in business credit cards that are regularly offered to American households, according to a report by the Pew Health Group’s Safe Credit Cards Project.

As noted in the research, 40 years ago business credit cards were excluded from federal consumer protections because policy makers concluded that business owners were in the position to analyze risk. However, Pew found that between January 2006 and December 2010, American households received over 2.6 billion offers in the mail for these financial products. Whether the respondent to these solicitations is a large company, an owner of a small company, an employee or an individual, they are personally liable for all charges and are not protected by the key provisions in the Credit CARD Act.

“Every month more than 10 million business credit card offers are mailed to households at all income levels. The sheer number of offers that are sent to homes all across the nation represents a risk to millions of American families,” said Nick Bourke, director of Pew’s Safe Credit Cards Project. “To better protect individuals, families and small business owners we urge that the safeguards found in the Credit CARD Act be extended to any card on which the cardholder is personally liable.”

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO OF NICK BOURKE DISCUSSING BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS

The brief, “U.S. Households at Risk from Business Credit Cards ,” is the most recent in a series of Pew Safe Credit Cards Project reports that examine credit card disclosures from the nation’s 12 largest banks. For this report, Pew also looked at consumer-direct mail data from January 2006 through December 2010. Full details, including past reports, can be found at www.pewtrusts.org/creditcards.

Key findings show:

  • Eighty percent of business cards included an “any time” change in terms clause with no right to opt out, which means that bank issuers can change account terms at any time with little or no notice.
  • Eighty-four percent of business cards gave issuers the sole power to apply payments to low-rate balances first, which maximizes charges on higher-rate balances.
  • Sixty-seven percent of business cards included penalty rates for late payments or overlimit transactions. Issuers can apply a penalty interest rate immediately and without notice for any violation and that rate can last indefinitely on any balance. Under the Credit CARD Act, penalty interest rates may not be applied to existing balances on consumer credit cards, unless an account is seriously delinquent.
  • Penalty fees are virtually unrestricted and may not be reasonable and proportional to the violation. Seventy-three percent of business cards included a late fee (median amount $39), while 67 percent included an overlimit fee (median amount $39).

The brief also highlights issuers who have voluntarily applied portions of the Credit CARD Act to their business cards. Bank of America eliminated penalty interest rates, overlimit fees and late fees and both Bank of America and Capital One have adopted application of payments to be applied to the larger balance first.

“The practices of these banks show that additional consumer protections can be applied to all credit cards marketed to American households and that issuers can still receive fair compensation for the service provided,” said Bourke. “Now is the time for policy makers to ensure that the actions of these banks are not the exception, but rather the rule.”

The Pew Safe Credit Cards Project offers policy recommendations to make business cards safer and more transparent for consumers, including:

  • Expanding the consumer protections of the Credit CARD Act to any credit card product that requires an individual to be personally or jointly liable for account expenses, and at a minimum,
  • Requiring issuers to tell applicants whenever a credit card is not covered by the Credit CARD Act. Moreover, account disclosures should warn of additional risks not found in their consumer credit cards.

About the Pew Health Group

The Pew Health Group is the health and consumer-product safety arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. www.pewtrusts.org/creditcards

CONTACT: Nicolle Grayson, +1-202-540-6347, ngrayson@pewtrusts.org

Web Site: http://www.pewtrusts.org

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